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Rio Tinto to employ solar technology to provide carbon-free energy to Boron mine

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(Kitco News) - International mining and metals company Rio Tinto and renewable energy technology company Heliogen today announced an agreement to explore the deployment of Heliogen's breakthrough solar technology at Rio Tinto's borates mine in Boron, California.

According to the statement, under a memorandum of understanding, Heliogen will deploy its proprietary, artificial intelligence (AI)-powered technology at the Boron operation, where it will use heat from the sun to generate and store carbon-free energy to power the mine's industrial processes.

The two companies will begin detailed planning and securing government permits for the project, with the aim of starting operations from 2022. The companies will also use the Boron installation to begin exploring the potential for deployments of Heliogen's technology at Rio Tinto's other operations around the world to supply process heat, which accounted for 14 per cent of scope 1 & 2 emissions from the group's managed operations in 2020.

Heliogen's high-temperature solar technology is designed to cost-effectively replace fossil fuels with sunlight for a range of industrial processes, including those used in mining.

Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jakob Stausholm said, "This partnership with Heliogen has the potential to significantly reduce our emissions at Boron by using this groundbreaking solar technology, and we look forward to exploring opportunities across our global portfolio."

"Addressing climate change effectively will require businesses, governments and society to work together through partnerships like this one, to explore innovative new solutions throughout the entire value chain. Our work with Heliogen is part of Rio Tinto's commitment to spend approximately $1 billion on emissions reduction initiatives through to 2025 and our commitment to work with world-leading technology providers to achieve this goal," concluded Stausholm.

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